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Author Topic: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?  (Read 4141 times)

HA Dave

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Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« on: January 09, 2018, 10:39:45 AM »

The holiday rush is pretty much over. There are parking spaces at the mall and store shelves have been restocked. In many areas the weather is keeping people close to home. The only time I've spent outside would be to walk the dog.... and I don't have a dog.

This is the unofficial Home Automation season!

I recently heard from a fellow forum member who is using geofencing with his HA setup. Maybe because I am retired and I don't get out much (except to walk the pretend dog) I haven't figured out how to exploit this great new technology for my setup. Any ideas on how to exploit this newer HA tool.... would be greatly welcome.

Any OTHER new ideas or technology exploits would be also be welcome. New users macros for the CM15A would be nice. I myself... expect to be using the CM15A in some manner for a long time coming.

But third party use is VERY welcome as well. More and more... we are learning how best to integrate our X10 setup with the other latest-greatest devices. Often at very little cost. lazydiyer recently taught us how it integrate a Google Home device into X10. Even if you don't use Google... it's well worth the short read.

Like many of us... I've added Amazon Echo's to my setup. And Tuicemen has added MANY new third party sub-forums to make finding info fast and easy. This is a great time.... both of year and in HA history... to review and share HA ideas.

Today... I did a "little wire management"... with a (wifi bulb) lamp, a wireless phone charger, cell phone charger, Echo, A (module controlled) Theater Chair (with elec footrest), and a legacy (BVC) powered speaker.... I had a clutter of wires. Too scarey with little grandkids running around. This 12 plug (and 3 USB's) unit seems to help declutter my setup.

 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 10:49:34 AM by HA Dave »
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petera

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 03:34:58 PM »

The big one for me is x10 on the Raspberry Pi. Both Mochad and Heyu on the Raspberry Pi has really given my Raspberry Pi's plenty of work to do. Homeseer and Domoticz are the main software I'm using at the moment. Homeseer is not cheap to buy but is very versatile. On the other hand Domoticz is open source and I had the the CM11 up and running on the Raspberry Pi in under two hours from scratch.

The Amazon Echo bridge from BWS Systems takes care of x10 to Amazon Echo communications so all in all a busy winter building x10 related goodies.

I've tried Tuiceman's Alex10 and it's very impressive but I'm not really a big Windows user. Linux is my chosen tech poison :)%
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dave w

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 03:49:34 PM »

Dave HA
Where did you find that outlet strip?
I have a mess behind my couch with two outlet strips and a half dozen cube taps. Ugly.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2018, 04:16:03 PM »

Alex10 started as merely a simple way for x10 users to get Alexa control without having to understand how to do complicated scripts that the HA-Brigde was requesting at the time.
Since developing Alex10  BWS Systems has been adding support for other software like Domoticz, this has caused HA-Bridge to become bloated software (my opinion).
You do not need Domoticz to use HA-Bridge on Linux nor do you need Alex10 on Windows.

I see Alexa, Google Home and to a lesser extent Cortana to be the 2018 must haves for HA.
I still use my PC voice (PcCompanion) and had been working to enhance it however Amazons Alexa and Google Home are making it look more and more like it is obsolete.

I've been playing with Samsungs SmartThings cloud developers console and this allows for many different protocols to use Alexa or Google Home.
The issue with this is there is no user friendly interface for those intimidated by scripts or simple programing (yet).

I looked at creating an Alexa skill for X10 but that requires learning a new language which isn't going to happen. :(
Creating Google Home skills don't look much easier B:(
Hopefully Authinx will come out with an Alexa Skill or at least release the protocol for the WM100 so some one else can create a skill for Alexa and/or Google  ::) :'
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HA Dave

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2018, 04:27:34 PM »

Dave HA
Where did you find that outlet strip?

Amazon. I ordered a couple other things at the same time.... so now even my Amazon shopping cart is empty. I am not saying Amazon gets a lot of my business. But I am afraid at this point if I don't at least put something in my cart... Amazon might ask local authorizes to check-up on me.

...................... Hopefully Authinx will come out with an Alexa Skill or at least release the protocol for the WM100 so some one else can create a skill for Alexa and/or Google  ::) :'

They should budget that into the product development. The value of being Amazon and Google compliant is almost unmeasurable.
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Knightrider

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 05:49:02 PM »

Dave HA
Where did you find that outlet strip?
Why do you have that usb cord plugged into a cube and not the power strip itself?
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petera

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 07:41:47 PM »

Alex10 started as merely a simple way for x10 users to get Alexa control without having to understand how to do complicated scripts that the HA-Brigde was requesting at the time.
Since developing Alex10  BWS Systems has been adding support for other software like Domoticz, this has caused HA-Bridge to become bloated software (my opinion).
You do not need Domoticz to use HA-Bridge on Linux nor do you need Alex10 on Windows.

I see Alexa, Google Home and to a lesser extent Cortana to be the 2018 must haves for HA.
I still use my PC voice (PcCompanion) and had been working to enhance it however Amazons Alexa and Google Home are making it look more and more like it is obsolete.

I've been playing with Samsungs SmartThings cloud developers console and this allows for many different protocols to use Alexa or Google Home.
The issue with this is there is no user friendly interface for those intimidated by scripts or simple programing (yet).

I looked at creating an Alexa skill for X10 but that requires learning a new language which isn't going to happen. :(
Creating Google Home skills don't look much easier B:(
Hopefully Authinx will come out with an Alexa Skill or at least release the protocol for the WM100 so some one else can create a skill for Alexa and/or Google  ::) :'

Quite a number of long time users of x10 have jumped ship over the collapse of AHP and the delay in finding a successor. I've followed your posts both here and on your own site and to be honest I think Authinx are playing a serious game of catch up at this stage. Patience is something that users do not have a lot of these days. Big on promise and short on delivery springs to mind.

You've done some sterling work assisting the remaining users of AHP to continue using x10 and for both that work and your other side projects relating to x10 on the Windows you have to be commended.

I stopped using Windows after the demise of XP and turned to Linux and have not looked back. I find choices in Linux are far greater and while the learning curve can be a bit steeper the rewards are worth it. This coupled with the fact that x10 is very usable on the Raspberry Pi now and off site control of my x10 automation and it's ability to integrate with other technologies on the same single board computer wins the day for me.

I'm using Domoticz for other technologies on the Raspberry Pi as well as for x10 so it was a bonus to be able to use x10 in this way. It means that for me x10 has a future in my home automation system setup.
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HA Dave

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 08:35:24 PM »

Why do you have that usb cord plugged into a cube and not the power strip itself?

That unit has 3 USB outlets. Two are smart outlets (supposed to provide faster charging) and can provide up to 3.1 amps. The little white cube (in the picture) is my iPhone. I am overly protective of the iPhone... I only use the Apple [brand] chargers on it. The Black taller cube is the Echo Dot... and I am not sure of it's amperage (or even voltage) requirement. And since plug space there was no longer a consideration.... . I just plugged in the cubes.

But on the bright side. The USB outlets mean I won't have to fiddle around so much charging either of my Android tablets or my stand alone video cameras. Plus any visitors that need to charge their phone.... I have an outlet.
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HA Dave

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 08:42:56 PM »

......... to be honest I think Authinx are playing a serious game of catch up at this stage. Patience is something that users do not have a lot of these days.

....................I stopped using Windows after the demise of XP and turned to Linux and have not looked back....... This coupled with the fact that x10 is very usable on the Raspberry Pi now and off site control of my x10 automation and it's ability to integrate with other technologies on the same single board computer wins the day for me.

My Homeseer Hometroller is a Raspberry Pi device that allows me to use a CM15A interface to control my X10. And admittedly it runs rock solid.
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tflemer

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2018, 08:49:54 PM »

I think a round of Auld Lang Syne might be in order here.  Another year where I didn’t convert to z wave.  I still remember hauling a small box of Insteon to the Goodwill about ten years ago.  While You Tubing to get an understanding of OpenHab, I watched this fella saying version 2 is so easy to install, anybody can do it.  Well – yes the install, which he did on YT, went well.  Then he started to talk about z wave.  Something went wrong, which I could not translate from the mumbling, except he had to bind all 50 of his modules a second time.  There are a couple things in z wave that are interesting, but 2018 will not be a year for full conversion.  My X10 is paid for and not dead.

Mrs. Tom bought me a Raspberry Pi for Christmas.  Yes-I am five years behind.  I was just waiting for version 3B.  Ho, ho, ha.  Really liking this little board.  I am familiar with other flavors of Linux, but Raspian Stretch is straight forward.  Sparse, but a full load of office tools.  I tried a few third-party HA packages on it.  I am settling on Homegenie for now.  Must be a glutton for punishment, going to HG after waiting for AHP to update.   Just being able to access the HA from any browser or tablet is up lifting.  I had a few thumps and bumps along the way. HG is starting to take shape.

To draw a parallel here, everything is Amazon this Amazon that.  Walmart is mounting a formidable attack.  Many people are pushing their budgets around to spend Amazon.  As if Jeff B will be the last man standing.  There will be people that feel abused and will shop elsewhere.  To the point, there is plenty of space for all the HAs to coexist.  Casualties – yes.  Is there a heavy hitter out there?  The other PLC, Programmable Logic Control, certainly has few.  Would be interesting if one of them saw enough market space to run.  Alexa, Google Home, Harmony, Siri…Watson.  A lot to look forward to.  I am liking Homegenie on RPi3B for now.

I don’t have a dog either.  Mother nature recently required that I walk the snow thrower.  Does that count?

Thanks to all the people on this forum for their help and humor. >!
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petera

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 03:46:40 AM »

Yes Homegenie seemed to be an interesting product and x10 ran fairly smoothly on it either through Windows or in Linux via Mono. I used it for about a year quite successfully. Unfortunately the author became disenchanted, pulled his website down which contained a wealth of information and community exchange and while others attempt to develop and maintain the product it's very difficult to track its progress now.

Z-Wave has its supporters and it's detractors and there's no disputing it's capabilities but I'm noticing more and more problems for users of it. It's a lot more complicated and involved setting it up unlike x10 so I'm in no hurry to offload x10 just yet.

I'll definitely not be investing as much time and energy into similar technologies arriving on the market now. The reason I suppose is I doubt that most of them will not last a fraction of the time that x10 has survived.

Surprisingly enough I still find new uses for x10 as each week passes. >!
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lviper

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 05:28:42 AM »

While I haven't completely jumped the x10 ship, I did jump the AHP ship and boarded the HCA ship. HCA is Home Control Assistant from Advanced Quonset Technology. HCA does support X10 but also Insteon and UPB as well as a few others. The recent version now has cloud access and supports both google home and alexa as well as the nest thermostat.

It's not cheap software and I'm not all that happy with needing to pay for the cloud access with a yearly subscription, but since I had invested in the XTB-IIR and what I consider a large handful of X10 stuff, I wanted something that allowed me to continue to use X10 while I looked at and moved on to another protocol and system. HCA fit that bill. HCA also didn't require a cloud subscription till the latest ver 14. I started with ver 12.

2 years and 2 versions later I'm still using HCA with just X10. I never jumped ship to another system. Mainly because HCA with my CM11a, XTB-IIR and the W800usb for wireless has been rock solid. I had a few areas in the house where the RF wasn't too good but have since added 2 of the new x10 signal repeaters. One each at the very front and back of the house with the W800 in the center. Works great now. So I guess you can say HCA was my life raft to keep me on the X10 boat.

Anyway, I recently added the SmartThings Link to my Nvidia Shield TV. Now my shield tv (Android TV with Google Assistant) is a smartthings hub. I bought a promo special where I got the link, motion/temp sensor and 2 Sengled smart bulbs for $60. Figured I would give it a try for that price. But as I learned, there weren't many good options for remotes that work out of the box. We have become very accustomed to having palm pads and slim switches for the X10 system where ever we wanted them. Smartthings didn't have an easy solution. Smartthings uses both Zigbee and Zwave but not every zigbee or zwave device works out of the box. Many need custom smart apps and/or device handlers to work and I'm not a programmer. There are many custom apps and handlers already made by 3rd parties, but some of them seem confusing to setup. Just have to dig a little deeper I guess.

However, I did go on a quest to see if I could make HCA control the new smartthings bulbs. Integration would solve the palm pad and slim switch problem as well as others things. So I used the ideas from here for inspiration. Using HCA to run Curl I figured out I could send a command to IFTTT using Webhooks to then control the smartthings bulbs. That was my first hack but the delay could be between 3 and 5 seconds. That long of a delay is not acceptable.

I decided to look the other direction and see if I could have smartthings control my HCA X10 stuff. While the solutions I found and tried on here worked, I wanted to eliminate IFTTT and needing to have another program with another device. So I played with the HCA cloud's developer stuff and finally hacked a way to get a device handler in smartthings to control a light in HCA. It was quick and worked well. Problem is like I said earlier, I'm no programmer and I only got that working if I hard coded the needed params in the device handler. I'm completely lost trying to figure out how to get and pass the information from a simulated switch to the device handler that can be sent in a Json body using HTTP Post.

So that's where I stand at the moment. I really want to integrate ST with HCA so each one can control the other using the cloud. I also want to use the Lutron Caseta wireless switches since I have an old house and their switch doesn't need a neutral wire and will work with led bulbs. The lutron hub works with ST so if I had integration with ST and HCA I could still use my palm pads and slim switches to turn on the lights as well as all the other powerful stuff I can do with HCA.

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HA Dave

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2018, 05:32:42 AM »

I think a round of Auld Lang Syne might be in order here.  Another year where I didn’t convert to ................... 2018 will not be a year for full conversion.  My X10 is paid for and not dead.

When I bought my last router..... I was nearly into the commercial line. I use a LOT of WiFi and bandwidth. I can't but wonder.... if all this additional WiFi home automation stuff won't "crowd" the bandwidth. If this is a betting opportunity.... I am betting most routers are going to get a little too busy in the coming months. A guy called me and asked which router he should my buy. Knowing what I know about hacking and the state of progress and change.... I told him to rent his router from the cable company.

It's nice to know that 433mhz and X10 PLC's aren't hurting broadband.

Mrs. Tom bought me a Raspberry Pi for Christmas.  Yes-I am five years behind.  I was just waiting for version 3B.  Ho, ho, ha.  Really liking this little board.  I am familiar with other flavors of Linux, but Raspian Stretch is straight forward.  Sparse, but a full load of office tools.......

I have to try a Pi.

To draw a parallel here, everything is Amazon this Amazon that. .........  Alexa, Google Home, Harmony, Siri…Watson.  A lot to look forward to.  I am liking Homegenie on RPi3B for now.

It's a good time to be around. Our futures are limited... ONLY by our imaginations.

I don’t have a dog either.  Mother nature recently required that I walk the snow thrower.  Does that count?

I don't think so (just MHO). Unless of course.... you really enjoy snow throwing. I came to the conclusion decades ago... that the difference between healthful exercise and old fashion effort.... is the enjoyment. Thank God there are TONS of fun stuff to do outside (or at the gym).

Thanks to all the people on this forum for their help and humor. >!

Let me add my thanks to yours! There was a time..... I was so bummed at the apparent demise of X10... and the commercialization of (cable company) home automation installations. I though my beloved hobby... (addiction?) was going to fade away. Thanks to the people here at this forum... many I often disagreed with about automation use and future... I muddled through.

Now... we seem to be in the beginning of a new golden age of HA.
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HA Dave

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2018, 05:45:16 AM »

While I haven't completely jumped the x10 ship, I did jump the AHP ship and boarded the HCA ship. HCA is Home Control Assistant from Advanced Quonset Technology. HCA does support X10 but also Insteon and UPB as well as a few others. The recent version now has cloud access and supports both google home and alexa as well as the nest thermostat.

It's not cheap software and I'm not all that happy with needing to pay for the cloud access with a yearly subscription, .................

I am not totally resistant to fee's myself (but I am also not a fan). But keep checking back. There are solutions that don't involve fees or programing skills. AND X10 is working on a soon to be released WiFi module too. One of the forum member here, fernracer gave me his old Hometroller (homeseer). NOT a cheap device.... but a rock solid Pi based unit that has been allowing me to control my X10 via Alexa and my AHP/CM15A macros. 
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HA Dave

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Re: Tis the season... Home Automation Season. New ideas?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2018, 05:47:11 AM »

......  Surprisingly enough I still find new uses for x10 as each week passes. >!

Please feel fee to share any ideas for HA use. I am ALWAYS looking for a current or future HA project. I am kinda hooked on this stuff.
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